Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Maksim Marinin

TAHbKA

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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Maksim Marinin for ria.ru

(please click the original article link for the paper's counter etc)

EV: 10 years ago you told me during an interview you are trying not to make plans because all well planned things tend to fall apart. Your current life, in which you see to be quite happy just happened, or had you made an effort to make things work the way they do?
MM: Of course I made an effort. Just that it wasn't too much. As our coach Oleg Vasiliev used to say miracles happen only to those who work hard. I follow that rule till this day.

EV: So you wouldn't be sorry about the wasted time.
MM: Well, yes. Tamara Moskvina said the result is an outcome of many small things. Every small detail, even one you don't notice is important. I mean particularly the family life. First my wife and I were lucky meeting and getting together, quite soon after we became parents and things just worked out. I do make some effort, my wife makes some efforts, kids are looking at us, all develops the right way and we go on.

EV: Your main work is, as it was, skating in the shows. Can you plan things in advance there?
MM: Ilya Averbukh's company has a schedule for a year from now. There are two full time projects - `Romeo & Juliette' and `NutCracker'. Both are quite successful and demanded, even though the Nutcracker is usually a winter time show.

EV: Your partner and you won the Olympics skating to `Romeo & Juliette'. Does the show allow you to feel as much as you had in Turino?
MM: Recently we were touring with the show in Verona in the ancient `Arena di Verona'. It was really cool. And very extreme. During all the days we performed it was quite sunny, the last day, however, it started raining. Which is a catastrophe for an open rink show: the ice turns into a paper. But we were lucky: exactly at 8pm, when the show was supposed to begin the rain had stopped. The ice was prepared that moment, and even though people in the sits were not happy we skated the show with no breaks. During the 2nd act the rain began again, but we were able to complete the show. Don't think any of the skaters ever had a chance to perform in such extreme conditions.

EV: Does the fact you can only plan your life for as long as you have a contract bother you?
MM: It does. Hence during the offseason, which is at the summer I work quite a lot with the kids in Averbukh's school.

EV: I.e. you are coaching part time.
MM: Sometimes it's the only way to earn the living.

EV: I understand you. I just had an impression many skaters never think of how tough it might be after they retire.
MM: More like they don't want to think about it.

EV: That's quite normal. It's something you'd rather not think of, talk or and every athlete deep down hopes they will find their place, where sitting under the sun people will still be in love with their talent. But quite soon you realize there is no such a place. What there is is a puddle with a rain and no one hurries to open an umbrella for you.
MM: Indeed. I think am lucky in that case. Right from the very beginning I had no illusions about what awaits me. I understood a usual work, perhaps very hard one, awaits me. Pretty much like anyone who earns the living by skating. It's spending the whole day on a piece of ice wearing the skates. I just have my moments of pure happiness skating in the shows - they bring me back into the old life.

EV: Yet as far as I can tell you are in no hurry to become a coach?
MM: I postpone the moment when I'll have to make a decision for as long as I can. On one hand I can't imagine myself doing anything else, on the other - can't really tell it's what I want to do. Coaching is an incredibly hard work. Which, among other things, would put the family life in danger.

EV: Figure skating was always a sport in which a person after retiring still earned living with their legs. Tatiana Tarasova many times said for her it's important not only to lead the athlete to the result, but to have as little injuries as possible on the way, so they would still have a profession. Now I hear quite often the sports have changed. That you have to take all you can while you can and the price is not important. Do you agree?
MM: Yes and no. I disagree because I understand the Olympic medal is not the end of it. The rivers keep flowing the same direction, no one spreads a red carpet for you. And even if they do they fold it back quite fast. Your whole life is ahead of you, and you'd better stay healthy. But who thinks of that? It's always almost that the parents make a decision for their kids. And many times it's the parents who are willing to risk a lot.

EV: What do you think of the contemporary figure skating? Are you in awe of the little girls who can do quads?
MM: Let me repeat the words I once heard Anton Sikharulidze saying. `When you see a person on the podium you can see what was the path. I.e. you understand what do you have to do to end up there as well. Just those who are not on the podium yet - it's easier for them - they follow the lead and they know where to improve. When you are on the top it's an ocean in front of you. Where do you go? What is the right path? If a person on the top manages to make a small step it's a victory, an improvement'. So for me Sasha Trusova with her quads is a girl who pushes the human ability. She was the first to walk into the ocean, she paved the road and showed it's possible. How will it end and what will the toll on we don't know. The others will follow her. How far will they be able to go in that path is another question. But am in awe with Trusova.

EV: Do you have preferences in ladies figure skating that is usually called seniors?
MM: I don't really mind what is going on there. As our choreographer Alexandr Matveev was saying, `every book will find it's reader'. Some love Medvedeva, some prefer Zagitova.

EV: Some the French Miete?
MM: Am quite sure. Why not? Berenice stands out, she is unforgetful. See how it works in figure skating - on the junior level you are taught to do things right. I.e. everyone does the same. When you switch to the seniors you have to stand out in a way. The coaches start thinking of some small details, teach you to perform the elements not as correctly as you used to, but in a more interesting way. I recall Piezerat was as if bending his foot. I never really liked how it looked, but I realized it was his trade mark. Turn the lights on the rink off and you'll recognize Gwendal by that turned in foot. That's the personal style. Hence it's hard to judge what is a good and a bad thing in figure skating. Some spin better, some jump better. Each develop their strong side. Take Medvedeva - her trade mark was the tano/rippon jumps. I'd say it's the achievement of her and her coach who first came up with that trade mark and then made sure it counted.

EV: You mentioned a reader for every book. Is there a scenario you are following?
MM: Am interested in the 2nd part of the book Medvedeva is writing now. Am interested how will it end, interested in Zhenya as a person. There were a lot of points of view on Zhenya's and Alina's skates at the Olympics. While loving Alina so much Zhenya's skate was special. The hardest thing on such a level of a competition is having the last starting number and skate so well that hte skate was not far from perfect. Hence I wish the journey Medvedeva had done ended with a gold medal.

EV: That would be too much like in the movies. Like Lekgov winning the sprint in Sochi in his last sprint at his last Olympics.
MM: Well, yes, you always want things to make sense and be fair, but it doesn't work that way in the sports. Especially the Olympics. There is such a thing as speed up of success. When you are going there and things go and go and go. Medvedeva's speeding up was turned off. First by the injury, then missing the nationals. Alina used it, and as an athlete - kudos to her. But now it's interesting how will she perform and fight in her new status.

EV: I.e. what will she be able to do coming from a place where she mustn't lose?
MM: Yes. From the very first competitions Alina looks better than Zhenya. I like her programmes better. It doesn't mean a thing though. Knowing Zhenya is a scorpio and having skated with a scorpio I know she will not give up easily. She will be fighting for her results dying on the ice.

EV: How serious is your son about figure skating?
MM: He will certainly not become a single skater because he'll grow tall. Hence either pairs or ice dance. Guess pairs are more interesting.

EV: Who would you like to coach him?
MM: An interesting question. Of course it's hard coaching your own kids. Perhaps Oleg Vasiliev - we don't have so many experienced coaches who worked with the juniors. The big names are slowly going away and the young guys are taking over.

EV: I.e. you are following the pairs skating quite closely?
MM: I mainly follow the young skaters. The Olympic cycle had just began, so its' too early to come to any conclusions. Everyone are still getting there. Though understanding who is coaching Boikova/Kozlovskii, whose practices I can follow thanks to the Instagram it's already visible they are to become an interesting pair.

EV: When saying understanding who is coaching them do you mean Moskvina or Artur Minchuk?
MM: Moskvina, of course.

EV: How does it go with your saying it's the time of the young coaches? Or is Moskvina an exception?
MM: Tamara Nikolaevna is unreplaceable. With her experienced eyes she can spot a problem which is not causing a trouble yet. She can shield the athlete from the problem, not let them follow that path. It's like in the movie `don't go that way, the snow will fall on you and you'll die'. Moskvina is consulting the athletes more now and is in tight connection with the coaches who are working on the ice every day. It's the right scheme.

EV: Can you compare the contemporary pairs skating of the leaders to yours?
MM: Everything is harder now, the work is more like the ice dance now.

EV: Am not sure I understand.
MM: In the ice dance the more time you spend on the ice the better the result. In pairs we used to train mainly the jumps, throws and lifts. Now there are so many other things - all these levels, spins, steps....

EV: have you ever tried skating a lvl4 steps sequence?
MM: I haven't. But even if I can repeat some steps it does not mean two will be able to.

EV: I heard something similar from Ekaterina Bobrova when her partner Dmitrii Soloviev was undergoing a knee surgery. Katia said it was then she understood when skating is really tough. When you do the steps and understand there is no one to lean on.
MM: It's exactly what I mean. Though now there is a lot I would be able to repeat. Because I really learned to skate pairs only after 3 season of the `Ice age'.

EV: Elucidate.
MM: It's easy really. When you are holding a person who can hardly stand on the ice and can't do a thing you have to skate for both of you. It was obvious in the sports: you go out there and skate. Here you had a super task. And quite soon I understood, that the way I was taught I didn't do a thing in the pairs skating.

EV: How fast were you able to adopt in the actors environment, where you landed right from the Olympic ice?
MM: After Tanya and I retired it took me two years to come back to senses. Like a person who finished an army service. In sports, as I said, it's easy - you have a goal which your coach sets, he explains how to get to the goal. That's it, close out the outter world and go working. Here, on the other hand, you are a pilot with no plane - no one cares about you. And you can't understand how is it: just a second ago things were spinning around you, now there are other people with the same medals. One better than the other. Hence I needed time to find myself in that new life.

EV: I simply remember how thanks to the project on the national TV the skaters landed into a new life and some loved that life so much even families fell apart.
MM: It mainly happened to the women.

EV: Obviously. At the time I was quite taken aback by your words for the male partner a woman is just an object he works with. The make partner for her is the coming of all best and most secure.
MM: Well, yeah, the feeling of a flight, the strong male hands. For me from the very beginning the project was just a job. Natalia and I already had our son Artem, I had to think of him and not about when to party with whom. I was taken.

EV: Do you feel now you are a serious artist or a skater who does some Christmas shows?
MM: What we do on the ice is not exactly the sports, but it does not mean the work became any less hard. At the time we spoke about the fact any decent skater might become a world champion, but holding the title is much harder. The fact Ilya Averbukh have been doing so well and so successfully the shows for more than 10 years now means it's a very serious work.

EV: What do you think is Averbukh's main talent?
MM: Think knowing at instance which athlete will suit which role the best. He realizes teaching us new things is too late, hence no point wasting time on that. His main success is letting us depict ourselves on the ice. If I play a Romeo it's not far from what I am in the real life. Hence the shows are such a success - you don't need to come up with anything. In other words Ilya, knowing us so well, gives us the roles that are obvious to the viewer. There is nothing fake there.

EV: Is it very different having a main role in the show or a small part like you had in `Carmen'?
MM: A huge. In `Carmen' I was in the background. The main role is serious and cool. Even though it's very tiring sometimes, frankly.

EV: A lot of work on the ice?
MM: I only get to take off the skates during the break in `Romeo & Juliette' and even that not always. I didn't take them off at all in Verona. I tried once and was late for the 2nd act. For Romeo & Juliette engagement. I had to re-tie my boot that started to open during the 1st act. I started to, made a knot in the lace. It took me a while to open it... anyway, I was late.

EV: Out of all the roles you have ever played which was the closest to you? Romeo?
MM: I loved playing the wolf in `Wolf and 7 sheeps'. Yagudin was playing a parrot there. Gosh, what didn't we depict... It's now that the young skaters land on the main roles. In our profession, I think, the most important is letting go of your ego. You just have to understand: the sport is over. Hence get up and work. And it's a great job really.

EV: Do you want to follow Averbukh's or Pluschenko's steps and have your own show?
MM: No. When I see how much Averbukh puts into that I understand such a result demands a 100% investment. I.e. you'll have to give up everything else at some point. Perhaps Ilya was lucky in a way not winning the Olympics - that feeling of missing out always pushed him and motivated to work more and more. We got our vanity moment and sat down there, giving up. The energy is always given to be enough for your goal. I don't set my goals too high anymore. What I have is enough to be happy.
 

barbk

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Thank you, @TAHbKA -- Maksim uses such interesting quotes.
`don't go that way, the snow will fall on you and you'll die'
My favorite: As our choreographer Alexandr Matveev was saying, `every book will find it's reader'. Some love Medvedeva, some prefer Zagitova.

Every book will find its reader. Deep truth there.
 

Daena

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don't go that way, the snow will fall on you and you'll die'
It's a quote from extremely popular Soviet film, and this phrase is one of the best known movie quotes :D The person who says it is not Russian native speaker, and his wording is sooo awkward, with very thick accent (something like "Hey citizen-a! You there don't go, you here go, or else snow hit head, you will be entirely dead" - actually it was slang word for "head")
 

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